In the past 5 years the price of fuel in the UK has risen by over 52%. With petrol prices currently at around £1.40 a litre, many drivers are finding it a real struggle to afford to fill their tanks. The VAT increase to 20% has partly contributed to these higher prices, alongside increases in government fuel duty tax. While oil refiners are making bumper profits, it’s the average Joe on the street who’s bearing the brunt of this increased taxation. Although there’s not a lot individuals can do to change the price of fuel, it is possible to change the way you drive to help maximise fuel efficiency. Simple changes can give you a higher mile-per-gallon ratio which will save you some money. Here are our suggestions to help cut fuel costs:
Use A Higher Gear
By changing the way you drive you can save up to 25% more fuel. Driving in a higher gear will lower your engines revs and increase fuel efficiency. While at first it may feel a bit strange when using a higher gear than you’re used to, like anything in life, if you persevere and get into the habit, you won’t even notice the difference.
Turn Off The Air Con
Turning off your air con when it’s not nessesary can improve your fuel efficiency by around 8%. A lot of the time we leave our air conditioning on even when we don’t need it and as it uses lots of fuel to run then this can be costly. If you need to cool down just open the window at low speeds and only turn the air con on if it’s really necessary.
Lose Weight Where You Can
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a whole host of junk in your boot that you never get the chance to clear out. All of this unnecessary baggage adds weight to your car and uses more fuel, so make time for that much-needed spring clean. Also think about removing roof racks and tow bars that you only use occasionally. When you fill up, rather than filling your tank to the brim, money saving experts recommend just filling to around 1/3rd of your tanks capacity. Keeping your car as light as possible could save up to 5% more fuel and ultimatley cut fuel costs.
Turn Off The Engine
There’s a common misconception surrounding turning your engine off when you’re waiting in the car for a few minutes. In the past, old cars used a lot of fuel when they turned on so the advice at the time was to keep your engine running. However, with improvements in modern engine technology it’s much more fuel efficient to turn your car off when you’re not using it. It’s important to remember that these days there’s no longer any need to warm up your engine before you set off.
Inflate Your Tyres
By learning some basic car maintenance techniques or taking your car in for a regular service, you can ensure your tyres are inflated to the correct PSI. Around 50% of cars have under inflated tyres and this reduces fuel economy. Even if your tyres are only under inflated by 5 PSI for the recommended level for your car, the fuel efficiency could be reduced by 3%.
Accelerate Gently And Reduce Your Speed
Now there’s another reason to kill your speed. Driving just 10 mph over the speed limit can increase your fuel consumption by an extra 10%, so slow down and save money. Gradual breaking and accelerating can also help to improve your efficiency. Mainly its just common sense, if you see that you’re coming to a red light start slowing down gradually, don’t floor it until you need to slam on the brakes. The light might have even turned green by the time you’ve got there, minimising any unnecessary stopping and starting. So lift off the throttle when you can, watch your speed and break gradually – these tips will not only increase fuel efficiency, but make your driving safer and offer a more comfortable ride.
Buy The Cheapest Fuel In Your Area
Fuel prices can vary by around 5-10p a litre in most parts of the country; so by shopping at the garage with the cheapest fuel in your area you can get the maximum mileage for your money. Websites such as PetrolPrices.com allow you to enter your postcode and compare prices near you, it only takes a minute and over time those pennies will add up.
Consider Car Sharing
Car sharing is becoming more popular than ever. It can halve your petrol spend and in some areas you get access to special car sharing lanes which help you to avoid the heavy traffic of the morning commute; saving you time as well as money. Many large corporate firms have car sharing schemes or you could always look online and use one of the many car sharing sites which can help you find someone who travels the same journey as you. Proof positive that kindness can cut fuel costs, too.